May 29, 2018 will mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of the renowned music impresario, broadcaster and art manager, Steve Omodele Bankole Rhodes. Born at No. 38 Igbosere Road Lagos on April 8, 1926, he died on Democracy Day, May 29, 2008 in a London hospital, where he had been admitted following a bout of illness.
To set the anniversary celebration ball rolling the family have set up an endowment — the Elder Steve Rhodes Award for the Best Graduating Music Student from the University of Lagos (UNILAG). According to his third daughter, Jeanette Rhodes, this first award will be presented during the University of Lagos Convocation ceremony on the morning of February 20, 2018.
“On the 20th February 2018, Freedom Park in collaboration with the family will display a photographic exhibition (initially displayed in 2014 to mark the 6th anniversary) and the public will have the opportunity to view the exhibition as well as watch a short documentary titled Metamorphosis directed and produced of Femi Odugbemi,” she said.
The event of February 20th will wrap up with some musical entertainment, especially by a band that is competent in both highlife and jazz idioms – the two that were Elder Rhodes most preferred forms. “All are encouraged to come and participate – established musicians and budding talents alike,” stated Jeanette for the organisers.
Remarkably, Freedom Park the venue for these celebration is located at the site of the former Prisons on Broad Street, a stone’s throw from Igbosere Road, where the late Steve Rhodes was born, “so this is a fitting tribute to this great legend”.
Rhodes had said in an interview published on www.steverhodesnigeria.com shortly before his death that he does not do commercial music.
“I do interpretative music, which is art music. I can’t see myself getting into commercial music. To me, the commercial appeals to the lowest common denominator. It is mathematics. I can’t do that work. It doesn’t appeal to me. I must be doing something that has substance that requires intellectual approach,” he had stated.
In the same interview too, he had talked about not wanting to get into how he wanted to be remembered. Even at that time in his life, legacies, for him, was a difficult thing to pin point.
He however conceded that the work he had done would live in the people he has worked with all his life.
“I believe, they are the people that are going to use the ideas and the kind of discipline that I tried to bring into music in Nigeria. That is up to them. It’s not my legacies anyway. But if I am gone and anybody wants to talk about music, it can be remembered that there was one man who tried to chart a direction for Nigerian music”.